Dutch health tech company, Royal Philips, has partnered with Qualcomm Life, a subsidiary of Qualcomm, in a bid to develop an IoT healthcare ecosystem.
The companies will collaborate by using the Philips HealthSuite – a cloud data management and informatics solution – in tandem with Qualcomm Life’s 2net Platform – a medical-grade connectivity platform.
This Internet of Things (IoT) partnership aims to “help care providers to engage better with their patients and contribute to the goal of improving outcomes,” according to Jeroen Tas, CEO, connected healthcare and health informatics at Philips.
This involves crucial services, such as the reduction of emergency care and the readmission of patients with chronic diseases.
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So why does Philips need Qualcomm?
Qualcomm’s Life 2net Platform provides the medical device connectivity for the Philips HealthSuite. Philips will use the 2net Platform to connect its own medical devices and those created by third-parties.
In joining the Qualcomm Life 2net Ecosystem, users of the Philips HealthSuite will also supposedly benefit from easier access to Qualcomm’s array of connected medical devices, like medication dispensers and medical grade biosensors.
How does Qualcomm stand to benefit?
Qualcomm Life benefits from the Philips HealthSuite acting as a secure data management and storage solution for its medical-grade 2net platform. This allows Qualcomm Life access to HealthSuite’s data normalization, aggregation and analytics capabilities.
Customers using Qualcomm Life can also build applications, integrate with electronic health record systems, store, analyse and manage data analytics in a secure environment.
Commenting on the deal, Joao Bocas, digital health influencer and start-up mentor, said: “This [deal] clearly states that no one will be able to do everything well on their own. Healthcare is an extremely complex sector and marketplace. Strategic partnerships are vital in order to be successful and provide the best-combined solutions to those who need to manage personal health.”
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A golden opportunity?
According to a Deloitte report produced last year on connected healthcare, more than 70 percent of the UK population owns a smartphone, use of wearables is growing rapidly and there are over 100,000 health apps in circulation. But does that mean connected healthcare is becoming the new normal?
To continue using the UK as an example, it certainly seems there is a need for improvement in the way healthcare is delivered. The rise in chronic medical conditions is expected to cost £5 billion per year by 2018 and care home residents are 40-50 percent more likely to visit A&E than the general populace of over 75s.
The IoT is tipped to be the technology that can aid this problem through the democratisation of data and patient self-management.
The state of play
That said, adoption rates are still low.
“We live in an age where technology allows us to gather and share information quickly and easily. What we don’t always see is that capability transferring to the maximal benefit of patients.” This is according to Alan Payne, chief digital and information officer at Nuffield Health, which has entered a partnership with University College London in order to understand why adoption is so low.
While businesses are convinced of the plethora of benefits that the democratisation of healthcare data will bring, consumers are less so. Data privacy is a key concern, which will need to be overcome before the personalized healthcare market truly explodes.
PwC is predicting that the connected healthcare market will be worth a whopping $61 billion by 2020. There is clearly a massive opportunity here, but Philips and Qualcomm will be hoping their service negates current adoption fears.
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